The compelling, heart-warming story of how a traumatised young woman found peace through her friendship with an injured dolphin called Jock.
When Melody Horrill began communications at the University of South Australia she was a troubled and lost young woman, hiding behind a carefully crafted exterior. She had experienced a lifetime of emotional and physical trauma mainly at the hands of violent father. Even after she and her mother escaped, he continued his campaign of abuse even as his family tried to hide from him. When Melody was in her teens, he stabbed her mother in the face and then tried to take his own life by cutting his throat. He'd been jailed for the savage attack. Eventually he killed himself, leaving a note saying how much he hated Melody and her brother, and a garage full of homemade weapons, each with the name of his children and wife on them.
One day Melody volunteered to help her university lecturer monitor a pod of river dolphins that lived in the waters of Port Adelaide. There for the first time she encountered Jock, a solitary dolphin with a maimed fin, who lived apart from the highly social pods. Melody was to form a bond with Jock that gave her the key to freeing herself from the demons of her own past, and begin a long-term mission to try to save the river dolphins.
In this book she details her extraordinary friendship with a wild dolphin and the significant impact he and the other dolphins had on helping her heal.
couldn't put it down
A beautifully written memoir which explores the healing power of nature and importance of connection to the environment. The book is a real page turner and the contrast of Melody's life as a young woman and the joy she found in her relationship with a wild dolphin, Jock is such a contrast. It is profound and remarkable. Her love of Jock jumps off the page and her concern for his home is sobering. This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Highly recommend.
A dolphin called Jock
An exceptional read. Incredibly brave, courageous story of a young girls traumatic life and then the heart warming journey that she had after meeting Jock the dolphin. The story of the Port River dolphins is a fascinating story in itself but the way Melody has entwined the two and come out so strong and driven on the other side makes it a read you cant put down.
Highly recommended read
Nature brings healing
How does a child survive when caught in a web of family abuse and buried secrets, all the time longing desperately for love and stability? Melody Horrill, a former environmental reporter and 'weather girl' in the Australian city of Adelaide, tells her tale of trauma, tragedy, and ultimately hope in this moving autobiography.
Horrill was born in England as the youngest child in a barely functioning family. Her abusive father makes it clear that is useless, empty headed and unwanted, and her mother accuses him of marital rape when Melody was conceived. Her brother is terrified of crossing his father, and not without good reason. When the decision is made to move to Australia, Melody's two older sisters refuse, rushing into their own marriages to break out of the family.
And things get worse as time rolls on. Those who have grown up in similar circumstances might need to approach this book carefully, as Horrill is unflinching and honest as she takes us through the story. However, she gives us relief in the book through moments of joy scattered through, and through a parallel thread of (as a young university student assisting her lecturer) meeting and forming a close relationship with the lonely dolphin Jock, himself physically and mentally damaged. The research group spend countless hours with Jock and other dolphins on Port River in Adelaide, and in the process gently lead Jock to join the broader dolphin community in the river.
Horrill's descriptive prose is beautiful, and her messages of healing and environmental protection are from the heart. I was particularly moved by the way that she describes her early childhood memories. They are her memories, and they might not be the complete story (particularly because much information was withheld from her), but they have an absolute ring of truth about them, and rather than indulging in her own interpretations of events, she simply presents them as they occurred through her eyes, and invites us to engage and interpret in our own way. It's wonderfully effective and disciplined writing about matters that have been tearing at her during her life, and I'm sure that it would be helpful to others in understanding their own journeys - it certainly helped me even though I have not had to deal with 90% of the things that Horrill had.
Well worth a read - her story will stay with you.